I have a therapist and I go see him once a week. I think everyone could benefit from a good therapist/counselor/shrink and I have learned a lot through that relationship.
I had an appointment yesterday and then immediately went for a run, which is a great way to process things. One thing we talked about that I then pondered on my run was that despite my personal passion for reading philosophy, religion, self-help, brain science, behavioral economics, and anything else related to living a good life, what I need is a way to filter all that information into something useful and practical.
All those books make me more knowledgeable, but not necessarily wiser. And now to my point…on my run I realized that coaches do the same thing for athletes that my therapist does for me: give direction, a grounding wire. They help us turn knowledge into wisdom. When I think about the best athlete relationships I have had it’s not with the athletes that don’t have time to learn and therefore hire a coach. It’s with the athletes that are always learning more about triathlon, always reading about various training philosophies and approaches. These types have a passion for the sport that leads them to gather knowledge, but just like me, that knowledge can feel difficult to parse at times. Sometimes we need an outsider to be the weather vane so we stop blowing in every direction.
Triathlon coaches are usually the type to learn as much as they can about triathlon, of course. In my own case, I know that my love of learning can come with a tendency to want ot try everything new under the sun rather than stick with one program long-term. So when the stakes were high for me, I had a coach. It didn’t matter which one of us knew more. It mattered that I had someone there to manage my bad tendency to second-guess my training and to remove the stress of thinking too much.